b. Leaf, Mississippi, October 4, 1937
Lloyd Green developed an emotional, resonant style of pedal steel guitar playing that gave him a distinct sound apart from other top steel specialists. Along with Jimmy Day, Buddy Emmons, and Bud Isaacs, he revolutionized the instrument with his ability to elevate a recording through dramatic melodic runs and innovative rhythmic and harmonic effects.
Green began playing Hawaiian steel guitar at age seven. Three years later he was performing professionally around Mobile, Alabama. His interest in pedal steel drew him to country music, and he toured in the bands of Hawkshaw Hawkins, Faron Young, and Ferlin Husky before his studio career took off—thanks to the staccato chords and syncopated single notes he added to Warner Mack’s 1965 hit “The Bridge Washed Out.”
Green has contributed to hundreds of country recordings, including classic hits by Charley Pride, Johnny Paycheck, Don Williams, Gene Watson, Alan Jackson, and others. He also recorded with Buffy Sainte-Marie; Peter, Paul and Mary; and Henry Mancini. His work on the Byrds’ Sweetheart of the Rodeo album greatly influenced the sound of country-rock, and his recordings with singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith helped set the stage for the new-century Americana movement.
Listen to Lloyd Green
The Byrds, “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” (Bob Dylan)
Among the musicians featured on this recording are Lloyd Green, pedal steel guitar; Roger McGuinn, lead vocal and electric guitar; Gram Parsons, organ; Chris Hillman, bass and harmony vocal.
From the album Sweetheart of the Rodeo, 1968. Produced by Gary Usher at Columbia Studios, Nashville.
The Byrds, “One Hundred Years from Now” (Gram Parsons)
Among the musicians featured on this recording are Lloyd Green, pedal steel guitar; Gram Parsons, lead vocal; Clarence White, lead guitar; Earl P. Ball, piano.
Originally recorded for the album Sweetheart of the Rodeo, 1968. This version, with Gram Parsons on lead vocal, remained unreleased until 1990. Produced by Gary Usher at Columbia Studios, Los Angeles.
Paul McCartney & Wings “Sally G” (Paul McCartney)
Among the musicians featured on this recording are Lloyd Green, pedal steel guitar and dobro; Johnny Gimble, fiddle; Jimmy McCulloch, lead guitar; Paul McCartney, bass; Geoff Britton, drums; Linda McCartney, backing vocal.
Single, 1974. Produced by Paul McCartney at Sound Shop, Nashville.
The Monkees, “Some of Shelly’s Blues” (Michael Nesmith)
The musicians featured on this recording are Lloyd Green, pedal steel guitar; Charlie McCoy, harmonica; Billy Sanford, guitar; Larry Butler, piano; Sonny Osborne, banjo; Bobby Dyson, bass; Willie Ackerman, drums.
Produced by Michael Nesmith at RCA Studio A, Nashville, 1968. The recording remained unreleased until 1990.
Bob Dylan, “If Not for You” (Bob Dylan)
Among the musicians featured on this recording are Lloyd Green, pedal steel guitar; Bob Dylan, piano.
Produced by Bob Johnston at Columbia Studios, New York, 1970. Lloyd Green’s overdub recorded at Columbia Studios, Nashville. This alternate version remained unreleased until 2015.
Charley Pride, “Just Between You and Me” (Jack Clement)
Among the musicians featured on this recording are Lloyd Green, pedal steel guitar; Harold Bradley, guitar; Wayne Moss, electric guitar; Pig Robbins, piano; Junior Huskey, bass; Jerry Carrigan, drums.
From the album Pride of Country Music, 1967. Produced by Jack Clement, Chet Atkins, and Bob Ferguson at RCA Studio B, Nashville.